A grand jury indicted 6 suspects—two women and four men—in a Tallapoosa County dog-fighting investigation that started two years ago. The six suspects face 161 indictments as a group.
New Site Police Chief John McKlevey identified the suspects as:
Decarlos Holley, Erick Calhoun, Roderick Sweetwyne and Justin Calhoun; Jennifer Kelley, and Sonja Benson.
Benson was the last suspect to be arrested.
Brothers Justin and Erick Calhoun each have bonds totaling $225,000.
Some of the other suspects have had their probations revoked because of previous drug-related convictions.
"Some of them have extensive criminal histories so that will dictate what kind of jail sentences they receive if they are convicted,' said New Site Police Chief John McKlevey.
In all, 55 dogs were rescued at three locations in Tallapoosa County. Most of the animals were pit bulls. A vacant home on Highway 22 East was one of the three sites.
"We have information that anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 bets were placed on each dog. This was a big business," said McKelvey.
Three of the 55 dogs had to be put down because of their poor condition and injuries. One other dog died from his injuries. The remaining 51 are being rehabilitated at an undisclosed location, according to McKelvey.
The sister of suspect Decarlos Holley told WSFA 12 News her brother had nothing to do with any dog-fighting operation. The woman declined to give her name but lives next door to where Holley allegedly conducted many of the dog fights.
Court records show all six suspects remain in the Tallapoosa County Jail. They had their first court appearance this week. A trial date has not been set.
Chief McKelvey believes while the investigation for this particular dog-fighting case may be over, but he told WSFA 12 News.that, he didn't rule out additional arrests down the road connected to this case or any other dog-fighting investigation.”